This $230 Japanese toaster uses steam to make toast taste bakery fresh

For those who prefer the style and baking method of a horizontal toaster (i.e., toaster oven) to that of a traditional vertical toaster, the premium paid for such a device shouldn’t run much higher than roughly $60. So why are people in Tokyo falling over themselves to get their hands on one of these ovens, which will cost them an astounding $230?

According to Balmuda (the company that manufactures the device), as well as the droves of happy owners already using the machine, it boasts the ability to turn ordinary store-bought bread into a bakery-fresh loaf in a matter of minutes. As anyone who’s enjoyed a slice of fresh-baked bread can attest, it doesn’t get much better.

The idea for the Balmuda toaster oven occurred to business founder and CEO Gen Terao during a recent company gathering that took place on a particularly rainy afternoon. During the get-together, Terao and a few other employees were warming bread on a grill before realizing that what they were producing were batches of high-quality toast.

As the downpour around them subsided, the group attempted to duplicate their toast masterpiece but failed to do so. It was then that Terao realized how important the presence of water (and more importantly, steam) was in the process.

Born from this realization was the Balmuda toaster, a device that uses steam to trap moisture inside bread while slowly heating it at low temperatures. As it nears the end of the cook cycle, the Balmuda turns up the heat to give the toast a perfectly cooked crust.

“Consumers are embracing gadgets that do one thing well,” said Euromonitor analyst Hiromi Yamaguchi. “Larger appliance makers are selling products with too many functions, and not a lot of people use them.”

Though the toaster debuted in June, demand for the device has created a wait list of at least three months — all without Balmuda airing any commercials or taking out ads. The company has recently expanded its business into South Korea. However, it has stated that there are currently no plans to bring the toaster oven to the United States or Europe. A sad day for bread lovers in those countries, sure, but we did find the product floating around Amazon — that is, if you don’t mind paying double for one.

Buy on Amazon

Emerging Tech

Drown out noisy neighbors and rest easy with these white noise machines

Some people are more sensitive to sound during sleep than others. Luckily, there are a number of white noise machines on the market to mask the noise. Here are our five of our current favorites.
Deals

It’s time to check out the best Apple Watch deals for April 2019

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for April 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for April 2018.
Mobile

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, with each suited for a different occasion.
Smart Home

Whip it, blend it, and mix it up with the best hand mixers of 2019

A stand mixer takes up a lot of room on the counter, and it can also be quite expensive. Need an option that's not only affordable but also takes up very little real estate in your kitchen cabinets? Check out these hand mixers.
Smart Home

Power through your afternoon slump with the best espresso machines

Brew professional-style espresso drinks and become the envy of your neighborhood with one of the best espresso machines on the planet. We have options across a range of price points, perfect for any budget.
Deals

Amazon drops prices on Nespresso coffee and espresso machines

Amazon has dropped prices on Nespresso coffee machines and a milk frother in an Easter week sale. Nespresso's coffee appliances use single-serve capsules and one-button selection to produce barista-quality espresso and coffee at home.
Smart Home

Watch: Police responding to an alleged buglary find a Roomba, not a robber

Police officers in Washington County, Oregon responded to a call of a potential burglary and were surprised to find the perpetrator was actually just a Roomba. Body cam footage of the encounter has been released.
Deals

Amazon slashes Easter Week prices for Dyson vacuums and air purifiers

Amazon slashed the prices on many Dyson high-tech products, including vacuum cleaners, air purifiers, and more for Easter Week. Dyson's premium household tools attract millions of fans and Amazon took deep discounts on popular products.
Smart Home

What you need to know before buying a new washer and dryer

Washers and dryers are big, expensive appliances that you'll want to last for decades. Our buying guide will help you sift through all the options and find the best machines for you.
Deals

Amazon and Best Buy halve the price of the Facebook Portal for Mother’s Day

Amazon and Best Buy both cut the price in half for the Facebook Portal smart display for Mother's Day. The Portal's smart camera will follow you as you move around the room during video calls. The Portal also has Amazon Alexa built in.
Smart Home

From the kitchen to the bedroom, here are the best Alexa tips and tricks

Amazon's voice assistant Alexa has plenty of neat skills. So many, in fact, it seems like new ones appear every day. We've rounded up the top Echo tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your virtual assistant.
Smart Home

Ring home security system now works as a hub for smart home devices

Ring is helping the issue of smart home fragmentation with its Works With Ring program. It lets thousands of smart home devices built on Z-Wave connect to Ring's Alarm Base Station.
Smart Home

Philips Hue users can activate their favorite routines through Google Home

Philips Hue expanded its Google Home integration through the Gentle Sleep and Wake routine. Just give Google the proper instructions are your lights will brighten or dim over half an hour.